The dogs stir at the first hint of daylight. I rise with them, grumbling about lack of sleep, until the sun emerges full and bright – something we haven’t seen in awhile.
“I used to be a morning person,” I say out loud. I’m am feeling the unrest of being shut in.
Ric emerges just after 7:00 am and I’m tell him I’m thinking about taking the camera out.
I drive to the centre of town, where the main street bridge crosses the river. Immediately, I spot an unfamiliar shape at the water’s edge.
Back at home, I research and find this is a Yellow Legs, although not sure whether is a Lesser or Greater. Apparently, they migrate through here.
Further down the river a pair of Mallards hover over their newborns. The shadow of an eagle passing overhead sends the family scurrying for cover.
The air is still wintry cold, but my heart is warmed by the beauty of the day. At the end of the outing, I will have encountered many different species of birds, heralding the start of warmer days. With over 400 photos to process, I am bursting with renewed energy.
The early morning sun rouses me from sleep. It’s just after six. I contemplate turning over and then remember that rain is called for later. I get up.
Still practising intermittent fasting, I won’t eat anything till 9:00, so I decide to slip on my clothes and drive through the neighbourhood, ending up by the falls. The day is warm and the air still. Three mallards glide along the river. Everything is green.
The area above the falls is known as The Flats. Here vendors are setting up for an outdoor market. A neighbourhood Lawn Bowling facility is prepping for the season’s open. The playground sits quiet.
I park and look for the baby ducks I had noted earlier in the week, but they and mom are nowhere to be seen. A blue jay flies overhead and lands nearby, but I can’t get a clear shot. The leaves have filled in lately offering the birds excellent camouflage. I decide to follow the ducks.
A lone mallard is foraging on the ledge before the water drops away. I get a few pics of him from up top and then drive around to the bottom.
A Great Blue Heron hunts in the rapids – his usual spot these days.
Red-winged blackbirds flit about on tree branches over the water, emitting their distinct call.
Grackles, ignoring the spray, perch on rocks, no doubt hoping to catch something tasty. As colourful as they are, these birds always look cranky to me.
I stay till it’s close to breakfast time. What a way to start my day!
(Linking up to my weekly challenge which is green.)
Day one of trying out the new protocols for maximizing energy. Turned off all screens at ten last night, and was asleep before eleven.
This morning, I dressed quickly and headed out the door by 7:30. The sun was already up and birds were flitting all about. Ice on the windshield meant I had to wait for the car to defrost. Couldn’t help but wonder if this was folly.
Cardinals, goldfinches, and red-winged blackbirds sang and flitted amongst the trees, just now getting their spring buds. We’ve returned home in time to welcome in this glorious season.
I drove a few blocks to the central attraction of our village – the Little Falls. Just beyond the falls is a park, and I slowly drove the circular path, stopping at a few points by the river to watch the birds.
A Canada Goose was loudly proclaiming her presence. Not sure if she was just cold, or telling off her mate who was grooming on the shore.
Further upstream, two ducks were gliding along. Without a breeze the river formed a mirror for the trees and houses lining its banks.
I parked near the falls and got out to take a few pictures. The falls, usually teeming with birds, were quiet this morning. Across the way, I noted a woodpecker, and heard the distinct song of the cardinal. A robin pecked at the ground.
Standing on the walkway, overlooking the intersection where our two rivers connect, I felt a sense of renewal.
It was nice to get away for the winter, and it is also nice to be home. I am excited to see what the season will present.
The first rule in interpreting dream messages, is to recognize that the meaning of a symbol varies with personal experience. This is why dream dictionaries are ineffective. This week’s responses to the river prompt clearly demonstrate this principle.
For me, I have always envisioned the collective unconscious as a river whose flow encompasses all – past, present, and yes, future. It is this belief that inspired my poem, The River, written at time when illness had cut me off from life as I had known it, and left me feeling isolated and afraid.
For Proscenium, and Jazz* of Steps and Pauses, the river is a reminder of the power of nature, as endless rainfall and flooding have infiltrated their lives.
Armed with Nancy Merrill’s prompt and my camera, I convinced my husband to drop me off at the river last night, just as the light was fading. The stillness of the day promised to offer some good photo opportunities. Autumn has turned up her colour, although the leaves are disappearing quickly, so I fear I won’t have too many other opportunities.
Just as I stepped out of the car – ours the only one about – a wave of seagulls rose up into the air from the water’s surface, their images mirrored in the river.
One of my favourite views from this spot is the bank where the river meets a local creek. The corner is adorned by a big old willow, and today it is accompanied by a blaze of red.
Thank you Nancy for leading me on this quest. There is something about the search for (and practice of) reflection that satisfies the soul.
Before I sign off, I just have one more photo for you. We’ll call it: The End.
(Submitted for Nancy Merrill’s A Photo A Week Challenge: reflection. Also linked to my weekly challenge, which this week happens to be the river.)
I’ve had a lifetime of trying to outrun the river, and consequently, the shattered pieces of my efforts litter life’s banks.
With illness, I have come to appreciate that it is not about flowing with the river, or keeping up, but being open. The river brings to us and she takes away. We are witness, beneficiary, and a voice. We neither own her bounty, nor hold her power.
Life is the river. It brings opportunity; we partake or not; it moves on.
When I haven’t been trying to outrun it, I’ve built walls against its offerings. Take writing, for example. Invitations to submit or contest offerings happen, and I step back, declare myself unready. Deadlines pass.
Recently, I decided to submit. My piece was accepted. I submitted three more. One was accepted. I entered a contest. I won. None of this makes me famous, but I am participating.
I stand now at the river’s edge with heart and mind open.
Where are you in the flow?
(V.J.’s challenge for this week is the river. Would love to hear from you. Check out the creative and thought-provoking contributions to date.)
Everyday, in the aftershock of losing a seventeen year marriage, I sought out the river. I would say a prayer, then walk off the grief and strife, until I came to a bench, where I’d sit and contemplate the message of the flowing water. “Finding my inner peace”, is what my son called it.
A friend of mine, sharing my love of the river, sent me this song, entitled The River, by Canadian artist Coco Love Alcorn. Hope it inspires you.
What does the river mean to you?
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